Gridlock in downtown Santa Monica was complained about by Nora Hamill in a recent letter. She tells us that she sat in her car for seven minutes and traveled just two blocks. Also, regular columnistDavis Pisarra told us a similar tale not too long ago. I think he managed a whole six blocks in half an hour. But they don’t tell us why or the true total cost of each mile they drive in downtown Santa Monica.

Surely everybody knows that traffic in Santa Monica is saturated — so why do they keep driving into it? Drivers in downtown Santa Monica are masochists who are part of a mutual persecution society. They are all persecuting each other. As Pogo said, a long time ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Everybody is looking to City Hall to enable them to take their car — 2,000 poundsof metal and plastic — everywhere they go, no matter how short the trip and City Hall, as far as I can see, is saying, “If those people are dumb enough to use their car every time they go anywhere, then let them stew in their own juice (or, rather, in their own pollution).”

What is wrong with walking? I can walk two blocks in one minute — not seven! I can walk six blocks in five minutes — not half an hour! The laughable thing is that some of them will be driving to the gym to pay good money to exercise. Why don’t people walk to the gym and walk back. It’s free!

Why don’t people drive on the basis of even or odd license plate days and halve the traffic at a stroke?

If you live in Santa Monicayou need to learn to walk, cycle, skate or take a bus.

Is it snobbery? “Oh, I am a very successful person. I have a lovely car and I must go everywhere in it. You can’t expect very-important-me to go on a bus with all these ordinary people. Yes, I’m in gridlock. I’m getting nowhere. I’m wasting gas. I’m polluting the air but look at my beautiful car with all its options and my GPS display which lets me see exactly where I am in the gridlock and all the places I can’t get to. I’m a success!”

As Sophocles said (you remember him — used to drive an ox cart — he could do six blocks in four minutes) “Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

Neil Macaulay
Santa Monica

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